Folk rap group Kalush Orchestra are big favorites to win the Eurovision Song Contest next month.
Ukraine’s entry in this year’s competition has received special permission from the country’s government to tour across Europe, in preparation for the big event on May 14 in Turin, Italy.
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Kalush Orchestra is a rap group named after the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, playing music steeped in the traditional folk sounds of this region. They will participate in the competition in May with Stephaniea song inspired by frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother, whose interest in rap dates back to her childhood love for Eminem.
The six-man band have only been together for a year and formed out of Psiuk’s previous project, rap trio Kalush.
The group was initially finalist to represent their country, during the national selection in January. However, original winner Alina Pash had previously visited Russian-controlled Crimea in 2015, and the Ukrainian national broadcaster, national selection committee and Pash collectively decided that she should not participate. Kalush Orchestra will go to this year’s competition instead.
The group was informed just days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Psiuk told the Time“The dates were really close so I had mixed feelings, but I’m happy to be able to help my country with my music – it’s the biggest way I can be of help right now.
“People can’t think much about music now because there are much more important things to worry about – how to survive, how to find food for your family.”
For example, the dancer of the group will not go to Turin next month. He joined the Kyiv Territorial Defense Forces, deciding to give up his chance at Eurovision glory and stay home and fight.
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